Kollam city in Kerala is the cashew capital

Kollam
Kollam

Kollam is the nerve centre of the country’s cashew trading and processing industry. The cashew industry in Kollam boasts of a legacy of a century of cashew nut export. It was in 1920 that the first batch of cashews was exported from the country, from Kollam to the USA. History has it that it was in the same year that the first factory was set up in Kollam to start the commercial processing of cashew nuts. What began as a small-scale industry grew in leaps and bounds and Kollam is now a major trade centre for cashew in the country. Cashew continues to be exported to countries such as the USA, the UK, Netherlands, the UAE, France, Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Japan, and so on. Kollam is the ideal place to see the cashew industry at close quarters and take home good quality dry fruit.

KOLLAM BEACH

With its glorious stretch of golden sand and azure waters, Kollam beach is the quintessential beach destination for travellers. The magnificent Arabian Sea that stretches unendingly to the horizon makes for a beautiful, dreamy sight. Aesthetics apart, this beach has its share of archaic grandeur too. It was once a major centre of the trade when it was a busy, active harbour that attracted Chinese ships. You can see remnants of the glorious past in the form of Chinese fishing nets, Chinese water pots, and sampans. The place is important considering the maritime history of Kerala, and once you are here, you can embark on a cultural and historical journey into the past. If, on the other hand, observing and understanding the local lifestyle is your choice, walk along the coast and explore the nearby fishing hamlets for a taste of the present. If entertainment is your priority, Kollam beach is rich in that department too. An array of beach activities are on offer here. The park near the beach offers many thrilling rides for kids. Also known as Mahatma Gandhi Beach, it is frequented by locals and foreigners alike

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Kollam railway station, 3 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 70 km away

Activities: Long Walks at the beach

Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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PUNALUR

Punalur is located near the eastern border of the Kollam district and the banks of the Kallada River. It is also the largest hill city in India. Situated on the Kollam – Shencottah – Thenkasi highway near the state border, this town is the main transit point for goods from South Kerala to Tamil Nadu. The highlight of Punalur’s tourism is the hanging bridge, the only one-of-its-kind in South India, which is also called the London Bridge of Kerala. The picturesque Kallada River in Punalur also draws many visitors. As Punalur is a stopover for Sabarimala pilgrims, the Department of Tourism has constructed a bathing ghat on the shores of the Kallada to provide food and accommodation facilities to the pilgrims.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Kollam railway station, 40 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 75 km away

Activities: Sightseeing, Walking on a bridge

Timings: No specific timing

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SHENDURNEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, the only wildlife sanctuary in Kollam, is part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve. The sanctuary owes its name to the endemic plant species, Gluta Travancore, locally known as Cherukurinji. Situated on the southern part of the Western Ghats, this sanctuary is set amidst luxurious greenery, and is acclaimed for its rich biodiversity. The terrain is mostly covered by tropical evergreen and semievergreen forests. The endangered Lion-tailed Macaque can be seen in these forests. The rare Great Eared Nightjar has also been spotted here. Idimuzhanganpara, Pallivasal, Rockwood, Kurunthottivalavu, and Lake View and Kalamkunnu are the five camping sites in the sanctuary.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Shengottai (Tamil Nadu) railway station, 15 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 53 km away

Activities: Boating, Camping, Trekking Trails

Timings: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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THENMALA

Thenmala (view video) is another attraction for those who love to explore Nature. This is the first planned eco-tourism destination in India. The lush green terrain of Thenmala, dotted with forests and rubber plantations, was selected by the World Tourism Organisation as one of the best eco-friendly tourism projects. It spreads over ten eco-tourism spots that cover the hill ranges of Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Kollam districts. Eco-tourism programmes are developed through the combined efforts of the Kerala Forest Department and a committee of local communities that are dependent on forests. Trekking, boating, tenting, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing are some of the activities in store for adventure enthusiasts. Apart from these, Thenmala also has a leisure zone with winding pathways, a sway bridge, a sculpture garden, a boardwalk, a culture zone with an amphitheatre, and a musical fountain. There is also a deer rehabilitation centre nearby, which is ideal for informational and recreational tours.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Shenkottah, about 29 km and Kollam, about 66 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 72 km away

Activities: Trekking, boating, tenting, bird watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling and river crossing

Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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ALUMKADAVU

When the smell of fresh coir seeps into your nostrils, you can be sure you have entered a quaint little village named Alumkadavu in Karunagapally, Kerala. The place is famous as the birthplace of Kettuvallam (traditional barge with overarching roof) that adorns the languid backwaters of God’s Own Country. If you are in luck, you can see Kettuvallams being constructed using wood and coir fibres. The boat manufacturing unit is believed to have been set up here 18 years ago. To spend an idyllic holiday, head to Alumkadavu, a perfect spot to relax in the splendour of backwaters in Kerala.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Karunagapally railway station, 5 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 95 km away

Activities: Relaxation, Backwaters

Timings: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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VIDEO

AYIRAMTHENGU MANGROVE FOREST

The Ayiramthengu Mangrove forest is a lush green haven that supports a diverse variety of aquatic and terrestrial creatures. It is situated in the Kollam district in Kerala. The State Fisheries Department maintains this dynamic ecosystem which was restored from the brink of extinction a few years ago. Amidst the abundant red mangroves, the rare Lumnitzera Racemosa species of mangroves can also be found here. The forest also serves as a nesting ground for a variety of migratory birds.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Oachira and Kayamkulam junction are the nearest railway stations,
about 7 and 11 km away, respectively

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 104 km away

Activities: Sight Seeing

Timings: No timings specified

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VIDEO

JATAYUPARA

Jatayupara is a hillock in Chadayamangalam, Kollam that features a stunningly colossal statue of Jatayu. Popular belief has it that the vulture-king mentioned in the epic Ramayana fell on this rocky hill when Ravana sliced off its wing during aerial combat as Jatayu tried to prevent the abduction of Sita. Considered the world’s largest bird sculpture, it has a rock theme park and an adventure centre for sports enthusiasts. The 60 ft. tall, 150 ft. broad and 200 ft. long figure of the fallen bird stands as a symbol of valour and sacrifice. The Jatayu Earth’s Center offers a bird’s eye view from 1000 ft. above sea level.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Kollam railway station, 38 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 51 km away

Activities: Rock theme park, An adventure centre, paintball, valley crossing, bouldering, zip line, trekking, archery, rappelling, jumaring and wall climbing are among the myriad activities

Timings: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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MUNROE ISLAND

Munroe Island is located about 27 km from Kollam town. The island, formed by the backwaters of the Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River, is known for its mangrove forests and lagoons. The place is named in honour of Resident Colonel John Munroe, a native of Scotland, who served as the Diwan of Travancore. Munroe Island is composed of a cluster of eight islands, each of them separated by small water channels and lakes. This quaint island offers a tranquil setting where you can spend a relaxed and idyllic holiday.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Munroe Island, about 3 km

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 84 km

Activities: Canoe and kayak tours, Sight Seeing

Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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PALARUVI WATERFALL

The picturesque Palaruvi Waterfall is situated amidst a dense patch of tropical forest in Kollam. As its name suggests, the waterfall resembles a milky stream gushing down rocky terrain. The stream traces its course through a range of medicinal plants and herbs in the forest that is known to have therapeutic properties. The site of the waterfall serves as a perfect picnic spot with the surrounding lush green forest. It offers a view of the pictorial hazy blue mountains and provides a chance for a refreshing dip in the waters.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Kollam railway station, 75 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 72 km away

Activities: Trekking

Timings: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

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THANGASSERY

Thangassery, locally known as ‘gold village,’ was once a flourishing trade centre. Vestiges of many old European influences can still be seen in many parts of the area. This seaside town was called ‘Dutch Quilon’ by the British. It is a historically significant location that now shelters the remnants of an old Portuguese fort and churches. The famed lighthouse here, which was built in 1902, stands 144 ft. high. The top of the lighthouse offers a breathtaking view of the entire town and the adjacent sea.

CONNECTIVITY

Railway station: Kollam railway station, 3 km away

Flight: Trivandrum International Airport, about 59 km away

Activities: Sight Seeing, Walks on Beach

Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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VIDEO